Sunday, 8 November 2009


It felt surreal. I’d had a great day at work following a well-needed 2 days off and although nothing was planned for this weekend, the sheer bliss of knowing there’s nothing to rush about for, coupled with the thrill of watching those Twins on X-Factor, meant I was chilled and relaxed and ready for anything. Well, almost anything.
What I wasn’t expecting and wasn’t prepared for was, when driving up the nice country road to pick The Girl up from school, a car coming in the opposite direction which appeared to be a little too far over my side of the road for comfort. Thinking the car had probably just overtaken a parked one and was still driving a bit wide, I steered over to the left a little more to give it a bit more room. But it kept on driving straight at me. Even when I was pretty much on the grassy kerb, it seemed to be right in my….surely not….

A massive jolt. Whiteness. A horrible metallic crunch, car alarms, a horrible burning smell and Paolo Nutini still crooning over the whole weird moment as a reminder that I was still alive. Then something warm and wet falling down my face. I couldn’t see out of the window, both air bags and something concertina-ed from the roof was obscuring my view. I looked in my mirror, my glasses were wrapped over my cheek and my ear and there was blood. The first think I checked was my teeth – a mad thought that said ‘while you don’t feel pain – check you still have your teeth’. They seemed fine but covered in blood. Get out. The burning smell was choking but the door wouldn’t budge. I noticed my hand was cut and bloody, and then the driver (loosely termed) from the other car appeared in the windscreen. I could see him mouthing ‘shit, shit, ‘shit…’ and he came round to the passenger door and opened it. ‘You alright? Shit…’ he kept repeating. ‘I can’t get out’ I told him and he came round and wrenched open the door. I just sat there thinking I’d wake up. This wouldn’t have happened. This can’t happen. I have Alice’s Birthday to sort out. I have NaNo I need to keep up. I have a weekend I want to relax in. This can’t be happening.

Then a lady from a cottage on the road (who’d thankfully witnessed the whole thing) came over and helped me out, led me away and gave me kitchen roll for the dripping blood, wet wipes for the dried up blood and a blanket and cardigan for the icy shivers I suddenly got. Everything on my body shook uncontrollably and yet still I needed to stare. Over my shoulder, out of her window – pacing up and down in her cosy living room, surely that wasn’t my car that was crunched and twisted with one wheel lying in the middle of the road and what was left of the bonnet only inches from a lamppost – which reminded me of the one in Narnia and co-incidentally part of the display I’d been working on at school that morning.

Someone went to the school and took Alice out of her last lesson. When she appeared with her best friend (Livvy, lovey, you are a star) she was crying and shaking almost as much as me. It hadn’t felt real, she said, until she’d had to walk past the two cars mangled in the middle of the road and the police diverting traffic and the ambulance outside the cottage lady’s house… and she realised her mum could have been killed in that.

But I wasn’t.

The lad, who had only passed his test 7 months ago, admitted full liability to the police, said he’d been speeding, was on the wrong side of the road (do they not cover this in driving lessons these days?) and ‘had other things on his mind’ – which turned out to have been an argument with his girlfriend who goes to the same school as Alice.

It’s only the second day, I know. And apart from the massive inconvenience and upheaval of trying to get from A to B (currently the haulage place where the car was towed to and Sainsbury’s, but still…) a new bruise is appearing every hour, the skin on my arm where the airbag burnt it, is coming away, my nose still looks like Leona Lewis's original one and I have the official whiplash. Which I’ve never had in my life and wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I thought it’d be a stiff-ish neck. It feels like there’s no skin on my shoulders and neck and someone’s just had a bloody good slap of it. And again. And again…..

I guess the fiasco with Tesco and the Krispy Kreme doughnuts I was intending to blog about has kinda paled into insignificance compared with this…?

And for those of you who are currently watching ‘Flash Forward’, I have to admit to being more than a little peeved that my Life didn’t ‘flash before my eyes’ at the point of impact. I don’t know what this means – perhaps I haven’t lived enough of it to be flash-worthy? Who knows!

This is all good material…. This is all good material…. I can write about head on collisions now!


Deb said...

Oh, Debs! This is awful! I am so sorry to hear this and hope you are recovering well, or at least not gaining any more bruises to add to your collection! I hope you get mended soon. Sending you a virtual hug (a real one would hurt too much, I think)
Thinking of you and get well soon. You were so, so lucky!
All love

The Pineapple Tart said...

Oh my goodness, I'm glad you're OK. I had a crash a couple of years ago - it was very noisy and dark. And seemed to take forever to happen. And the young man who took out the side of my car with his bull bars said it wasn't his fault

Fionnuala Kearney said...

Jesus Debs, I have goosebumps reading this not only becasue of how awful it is but I'm almost certain it was you who wrote a first chapter similar scene about two people who've moved on? Was it you??
I'm so glad you're alright. Horrid as these moments are they do make us wake up with a different perspective and realise who and what really matter. Get better soon. xx

Debs Riccio said...

Thanks Deb and Anne. The virtual hugs are helping already.
Fi - I DID start a new book with a car crash at the beginning - oddly enough my next one will have an unpublished, unlucky writer winning the lottery and saying soddit to everything!